Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton is scheduled to take place at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011. William, who is second in the line of succession to Queen Elizabeth II, first met Middleton in 2001, while he and Middleton were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their engagement, on 20 October 2010, was announced on 16 November 2010. After the wedding, the couple intend to continue residing on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales, where Prince William is based as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot.
Clarence House announced on 16 November 2010 that Prince William, elder son of the Prince of Wales, was to marry Kate Middleton, William's long-time girlfriend, "in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London".They were engaged in October 2010 while on a private holiday in Kenya; William gave Middleton the same engagement ring that his father had given to William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales—an 18-carat white gold ring with a 12-carat oval sapphire and 14 round diamonds. It was announced at approximately the same time that, after their marriage, the couple will live on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, where Prince William is based with the Royal Air Force.
The Prince of Wales said he was "thrilled ... they have been practising long enough", and Queen Elizabeth II said she was "absolutely delighted" for the couple, giving her formal consent to the marriage, as required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772, in her British privy council on the morning of the engagement. Congratulations also came in from the Queen's prime ministers, including Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, who has moderate republican leanings. Further, Pete Broadbent, suffragan Bishop of Willesden, who has known republican views, published his reaction to the wedding announcement on Facebook. He later acknowledged that his words were "offensive" and subsequently apologised, but his superior, Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, instructed him to withdraw from public ministry "until further notice".
Following the announcement the couple gave an exclusive interview to ITV News political editor Tom Bradby and hosted a photocall at St. James's Palace. On 12 December 2010, Buckingham Palace issued the official engagement photographs; these were taken on 25 November, in the state apartments at St. James's Palace, by photographer Mario Testino.
Prince William is the elder son of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As such, he is second, behind his father, in the line of succession to the throne in 16 independent states known as the Commonwealth realms. William was educated at Ludgrove School, Eton College, and the University of St Andrews, after which he was commissioned from Sandhurst in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry. He later transferred to the Air Force and went on to become a full time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force.
On 23 November 2010, Clarence House announced the date for the wedding as 29 April 2011 and the venue as Westminster Abbey, a Royal Peculiar founded in AD 960. Although the abbey has been the traditional location for coronations since 1066, it has only recently been the church of choice for royal weddings; prior to 1918, most royal weddings took place in the royal chapels such as the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace and St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The abbey, which has a usual seating capacity of 2000, has been the venue for recent royal weddings, including those of Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) to Prince Philip (1947), Princess Margaret to Anthony Armstrong-Jones (1960), Princess Anne to Mark Phillips (1973), and Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson (1986).
From 8.15 am, the main congregation, Governors-General, Prime Ministers of realm countries and the Diplomatic Corps will all arrive at the Abbey. Prince William and Harry are then due to arrive by 10.15 am. Further arrivals in turn will then consist of foreign royals, followed by the Middleton family, and lastly the Prince's family (The Princess Royal, The Duke of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall). As is tradition, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be the last members of the royal family to leave Buckingham Palace, arriving at the Abbey for 10.45 am. The bridal party will then leave the Goring Hotel in time for the service to begin at 11 am. The service is to finish at 12.15 pm, after which the newly married couple will travel to Buckingham Palace in a procession consisting of other royal family members, the parents of both the groom and bride, the best man, and the bridesmaids. At 1.25 pm, the couple will appear at the Buckingham Palace Balcony to watch the fly past consisting of Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight followed by two Typhoons and two Tornado.
The route of the bride and groom goes between Buckingham Palace and the Westminster Abbey, by The Mall, passing Clarence House, by Horse Guards Road, Horse Guards Parade, through Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, the south side of Parliament Square, and Broad Sanctuary.
St James's Palace announced on 5 January that the ceremony is to start at 11:00 and that Middleton will arrive at the abbey by car rather than by carriage (the latter is the traditional transport for royal brides.) The planned route is along The Mall, through the Horse Guards Parade, and down Whitehall to the abbey. After the ceremony, the bridal couple will return along the same route by carriage to a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The Prince of Wales is to host a private dinner that evening.
In a break with royal tradition, the groom is to have a best man—his brother, Prince Harry—rather than a supporter, while the bride has chosen her sister, Pippa, as maid of honour. The couple will have four bridesmaids—Lady Louise Windsor, the seven-year old daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex; Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the eight-year old daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Linley; Grace van Cutsem, the three-year old daughter of the couple's friend Hugh van Cutsem; and Eliza Lopes, the three-year old granddaughter of the Duchess of Cornwall. Two page boys are also to participate: William Lowther-Pinkerton, the ten-year old son of William's private secretary, and Tom Pettifer, the eight-year old son of William and Harry's former nanny, "Tiggy" Pettifer.
The Queen will host a lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace. The reception will start after the arrival carriage with the married couple. It will be a private gathering for guests drawn from the congregation who will represent the couple’s official and private lives. During the Reception, the couple will give an appearance on the Buckingham Palace Balcony. The East front of the palace contains this well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. Guests will be served with canapés at the Reception.
In the evening, The Prince of Wales will give a private dinner, followed by dancing, at Buckingham Palace for the couple and their close friends and family.
On 16 and 17 February, three sets of guest lists were sent out in the name of the Queen. As William is not the heir apparent, protocol has dictated that many guests (or their successors in office) who were invited to the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 need not be invited to William's wedding. More than half of the guests will be family and friends of the couple, though there will be a significant number of Commonwealth leaders (including the governors-general who represent the Queen in Commonwealth realms other than the UK, prime ministers of the Commonwealth realms, and heads of government of other Commonwealth countries), members of religious organisations, the diplomatic corps, several military officials, members of the British Royal Household, members of foreign royal families, and representatives of William's charities and others with whom William has worked on official business. Although St James's Palace declined to publish the names of those invited, a breakdown of guests was published by category−the list made no mention of foreign heads of state, though it was announced that about 40 members of foreign royal families had been invited.
The wedding cake will have a strong British floral theme, using elements of the Joseph Lambeth technique. It will be a multi-tiered traditional fruit cake decorated with cream and white icing. The Lambeth technique is based on a style of decorating that was popular in England where chefs and decorators would use a lot of intricate piping to create 3-D scrollwork, leaves, flowers, and other decoration. The method is still popular today and is frequently used by wedding cake designers and decorators to create ornate wedding cakes.
The wedding will be widely broadcast on television, internet and radio. It has been estimated that the coverage will be watched by two billion people worldwide. All four major news programs in the US will expand double and triple their length to allow for full live coverage.
Middleton will have a wedding ring, which will be made from Welsh gold. Since 1923, it has been a tradition in the royal family to use Welsh gold for the wedding ring of the bride.This ring will be made from a small amount of gold that has been kept in the royal vaults since it was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. It was mined from the Clogau Gold Mine in the Welsh mountains, not far from Anglesey, where the couple live. The Clogau Gold Mine has been closed since the previous century.
There is only one case of the oldest surviving son of the Prince of Wales marrying before his father succeeded to the throne: the future George V who married Mary of Teck in 1893. He had already been created Duke of York a year earlier, shortly after the death of his older brother brought him directly in line of succession to the throne.
In recent years, several royal princes who did not already have a title were given one upon marriage, including Prince Andrew, who was created Duke of York when he married in 1986. In a break with precedent Prince Edward was created Earl of Wessex; at the same time it was announced that he will be given the title Duke of Edinburgh when that title, currently held by his father, reverts to the Crown.
Prince William and Kate Middleton have personally approved an official range of china (including handmade plates, cups and pill boxes) to be made for the Royal Collection and sold as souvenirs from December 2010. The items are decorated with the intertwined initials of the couple, under the prince's coronet, and include the wording "To celebrate the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton 29 April 2011." The Lord Chamberlain's office approved a longer list of memorabilia, including official mugs, plates, biscuit tins and porcelain pill pots. The document also clarified the use of William's coat of arms and pictures of the couple on such memorabilia.
The royal wedding has been subject to threats of violence and disruption. In February, security agencies, including MI5, identified dissident Irish republican terror groups, such as the The Soldiers of Ireland (Óglaigh na hÉireann), as possible threats. The London police announced in March that they were considering tough measures to prevent disorder amid fear that anarchists will target the event following the protests against government budget cuts earlier in the year. In April, Anjem Choudary, formerly leader of the banned group Islam4UK, warned that a terror attack at the wedding was "highly likely". The group Muslims Against Crusades announced plans for a "forceful demonstration" at the wedding, calling the Royal Family "enemies to Allah and his messenger.